Best Sites for College-Level Research

student researching with notes on their laptop

College students need to find reputable sources for their research. It can take longer to find academic sources when using a simple search engine. Students also have to ensure the reliability of the information while considering the source since not all websites offer unbiased information. Luckily, there are certain search engines and websites devoted to academic research. Some are specific to subject areas while others cover a broad range of topics.

Table of Contents:

College Library

Your college or university library subscribes to multiple resources, databases, journals, books and more to provide full-text access to scholarly content across all subject areas. Academic librarians assist with research instruction and help you with creating effective search strategies to find relevant, quality sources to support your course assignments or research projects. Through a service called interlibrary loan (ILL), your library can often borrow books and journal articles they don’t own through a network of libraries that share content, thereby providing access to an incredibly large network of scholarly resources.

Google Scholar

Google offers college research tools in addition to its classic search engine feature. Google Scholar is a search engine that focuses on scholarly resources available on the internet, including articles, theses and books. Universities and other academic institutions also have publications available through Google Scholar. You can even connect your college or university library holdings in Google Scholar, so you can access full-text content through your library’s link in your Google Scholar search results. Google Scholar can be a great addition to library research when conducting a thorough search of published literature.

Google Books

Google Books includes book titles from modern to classic. You can search for a topic and Google Books will scan book pages for your search terms. You can also read sections of the book, see reviews of the material and learn where you can buy the book. This can be helpful for research papers or projects where you are looking for a wealth of information on the topic.

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)

Sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences at the United States Department of Education, ERIC is a freely accessible, education-focused database containing citations and article summaries with some content available as full-text. You can also access and search ERIC through your college library’s website to find even more full-text content in this education database. ERIC is a great starting point for research for teacher candidates and educators.

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive began with indexing and archiving website pages for continued access back in 1996 through their Wayback Machine. Today, the Internet Archive provides access to millions of resources, including books, audio recordings and videos. Both popular and scholarly materials are accessible through the Internet Archive, so be sure to evaluate and review your sources. Use the search feature to find specific titles or materials to support your scholarly research.

Project Gutenberg

Focusing on older book titles (mostly prior to 1924) where the United States copyright has expired, Project Gutenberg provides access to over 60,000 ebooks at your fingertips. Browse their top 100 list or search for specific titles in the online book catalog search feature. Ebooks are available across different formats including Kindle, EPUB, plain text or in HTML to read online in your internet browser. If you are studying literature or researching older historical materials, Project Gutenberg is a great resource for books.


PubMed is the premier biomedical database, indexing over 30 million citations and summaries of articles related to health sciences literature. Developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the National Library of Medicine, PubMed is free to search but can also be accessed through your college’s library, where the library’s full-text content is linked to allow access to a large number of full-text articles. If you are studying a subject related to health sciences or currently serving as a practicing clinician, PubMed is a great place to start your research.

Wolfram Alpha

If you have a specific question about what something is or how something works while doing your research, Wolfram Alpha is a useful tool. Instead of providing search results, it answers questions. Type in a topic or a question and the answer will show up without you having to choose other websites to go to for results. Users who are researching mathematics, sciences or technology processes or are looking for help with homework may find this site particularly helpful.

When you enroll in coursework at Grand Canyon University, you gain access to our excellent library system. You will be able to access academic content easily to conduct your college research, and if you need assistance with your research, you can always inquire with our helpful librarians. Learn more about joining our community of committed learners by visiting our website or clicking the Request Info button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.